GIBSONTON, Fla. — Like a man on a mission, young Danny Holtgraver made his move early and was never challenged en route to winning the 15th annual King of the 360s, which marked the 12th Ronald Laney Memorial race Saturday night at East Bay Raceway Park.
Holtgraver passed Tim Shaffer on a lap-three restart and led the remainder of the distance.
“This is unbelievable, “ said the 23-year-old after his biggest win ever, “my mechanic Brian Kemenah had everything so close to perfect on this J&J, powered by a Kistler engine and riding on VRP shocks, that it would have been hard to screw up. What a world of difference from the last time I was here in 2009, when I flipped half way down the back straightaway.”
Shaffer started on pole with Michael Miller outside and Jerrod Roller and Holtgraver in row two. Terry McCarl and Greg Wilson (who broke in hot laps and didn’t report his scratch to the officials) were to Start in row three followed by Jason Sides, Lou Kennedy, Scotty Thiel and Jayme Barnes were in the top ten. Shaffer, who won opening night, jumped into the early lead and led over Holtgraver and a fast-moving Sides.
Once Holtgraver took over on lap four, Sides took over second ahead of Miller, Shaffer and McCarl as they entered lapped traffic on lap 12. Holtgraver had no problems with lapped traffic and picked them off one at a time without hesitation. By lap 30, the leader had a four-second lead and once he slowed to hit his marks better, he seemed to go faster.
By lap 33 Holtgraver had a straight away lead over Sides and with five to go, he had two lapped cars between himself and Sides who had been held up by a slower car of Glenn Styres.
With the waving of Ronnie Luckock’s checkered flag Holtgraver’s margin of victory was 3.520 seconds over Sides.
Terry McCarl, Miller and Shaffer made up the rest of the top five.
Shane Lewis won the mini sprint feature.
Danny Holtgraver, Jason Sides, Terry McCarl, Michael Miller, Tim Shaffer, Darren Long, Steve Poirier, Scotty Thiel, Lou Kennedy, Danny Martin Jr., Michael Parent, Glenn Styres, Ryan Ruhl, Matt Kurtz, Tim Crawley, Jerod Roller, Gene Lasker, Danny Smith, Jayme Barnes, Greg Wilson.